Musical machines working in both in and out of sync.
A heady and dizzying mix of repetitive rhythms and half hooks, ‘In Waves’ is an off-kilter electronica EP that will appeal to those that love abstract sound. Fans of LTO, sci-fi Philip Glass perhaps the outer limits of Four Tet will enjoy these weird vibes. Franz Kirmann creates a hazy and devious world of sound for Robert Grosso to lay some imagery over. Most unique of all is that the cover art is an AR experience.
Firstly, let us deal with the musical aspect of the collaboration. Franz Kirmann enjoys using atonal sounds to create a feeling of something. Those atonal sounds are often placed purposefully offbeat from other sounds and so each track has an element of chaos to it. ‘Making Sense’ is peak offbeat as scattered tuned percussive tube noises skittle around whilst pulsating synths and guitars rhythmically spasm around it. ‘Saudade’ pulls the same feeling into a much more cohesive experience. It feels like you are slowing moving through a light show. An industrial dance club of robots if you will. ‘In Waves’ takes that idea a step further with spooky guitars and a groovy bass line that merges electronica and psychedelia together expertly. ‘Songe’ is the most melodic of the tracks as it acts like a post-rock bliss out with some 80’s synths beeping in an empty morse code over the top.
To go with this, Robert Grosso has placed an art piece of abstract waves for you to experience an AR version of his art. This means downloading an app called Artivive and pointing your phone at the artwork. This works digitally as well as in print as I pointed it at my PC screen. From there my phone transformed the picture into short audiovisual snippets from each song. Each track had its own style and whilst I was technically impressed, the samples last about 20 seconds each. That left me a little underwhelmed. I’m not sure if that is a limitation to the AR world or not but it felt like a trailer for a music video. Fun, but ultimately something I wouldn’t go back to. Maybe I was missing something.
Musically, ‘In Waves’ is an interesting project. If you like to be challenged by music that is fundamentally playing with out of time step beats, you’ll adore this. I always enjoy it when a musical takes experimental sounds and crafts something a bit strange with it. Not quite meditative or ambient but not quite cinematic either – it’ll leave you curious and questioning. Hopefully it’ll leave you satisfied too.
Recommended track: Saudade
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